DALLAS — Putting in 14-hour workdays seven days a week in a combat zone would be enough excitement for most people. But Army & Air Force Exchange Service store manager Maria Schizas-Price wanted to do more. So she volunteered with a local Navy detachment to reach out to the local community near her base in the Helmand River Valley in Afghanistan.
For the past few months, Price has worked with the Navy Preventive Medicine Detachment, Charlie Surgical Company CLR 15 at Camp Leatherneck to collect and distribute badly needed winter clothes and school supplies for local children. So far she and the Navy detachment have collected and distributed more than 200 pounds of supplies to an orphanage in nearby Lashkar Gah.
“I have children and grandchildren of my own, and it would tear my heart out if they had to go a winter without a coat to wear,” Price said. “Back in the states we sometimes take for granted simple things like school supplies. But out here children cherish them because they are often a rare luxury. Through the generosity of donors these children are able to get a better education and endure the harsh winter.”
This is the third deployment for Price, and in some ways it has been the most satisfying.
“I love my job managing the local exchange store here on Camp Leatherneck,” she said. The troops are fabulous. We see the appreciation in their eyes when they get that little taste of home like a can of their favorite soda or a bag of chips. Plus helping the Afghan children makes it even more rewarding.”
Maria Schizas-Price is one of 7,500 Exchange associates who have deployed since 9/11.
Courtesy of AAFES